Near the murmuring
In the grain fields, of the waves
Of wind in the oat-stalks
The olive tree
With its silver-covered mass
Severe in its lines
In its twisted
Heart in the earth:
By the hands
And the oceanic
Ode to Olive Oil / Oda al aceite
- Pablo Neruda 1904-1973
Luke Nguyen's Green Tomato Salad
In an amazing and colourful episode of Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong on SBS recently, Luke visited Inle Lake in the Shan State of Myanmar, where entire villages and kilometres of tomato farms float upon the lake.
Kitchen Garden in March: A Vignette
When Peter arrived home after five days in Darwin, he was amazed at how the kitchen garden had grown. After one or two beautifully warm days, followed by days of steady rain, we now have quite a jungle on our hands. Our main worry is a combination of snails en masse, lack of sunshine to ripen the last of the tomatoes, and the massive amounts of rain that are turning our strawberries to mush and splitting the best of the tomatoes. Still, we keen kitchen gardeners will soldier on. Here's a little vignette of the kitchen garden that we would like to share with you:
Left to right: The photo top left illustrates part of the kitchen garden, our latest beds are the corrugated plastic ones converted from a compost bin Peter bought at the recycling depot! He cut it into two, down the middle and voila, two beaut little beds. The strawberry bed still has masses of flowers, bruised by the rain, as you can see. We have several little bunches of celery, which are making good progress.
Middle rows: Our cucumbers have kept us well supplied. The womboks are a little on the lacy side, thanks to snails and cabbage moth, but they are nevertheless growing well. Our mint plants, which are in pots buried in the garden, are giving us lovely leaves to work with. We have chillies, scores of them! Two have already turned red. We are still picking palm sized strawberries, but even as I write this it is teeming with rain out there, so most will turn to mush before they can ripen! Similarly, due to the lack of sunshine this season, the last and best of our tomatoes probably won't get the chance to ripen.
Bottom row: In the courtyard in pots, we have (a few) olives, grapes, Vietnamese mint and other potted herbs. I picked the last little bunch of Isabella grapes this morning and they were outstanding in flavour! After being burnt to a crisp during 30 degree days while we were in Sydney in January, the Vietnamese mint has come back with a flurry of growth.
How are your fruits and vegetables coping this season? What are you growing and what is your most bountiful producer?
Basil, Lemon and Passionfruit Ice Cream
Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter
'If I had to choose just one plant from the whole herb garden, I should be content with basil,' Elizabeth David, Italian Food.
My new year's resolution for 2012 is to unwind by spending more weekend hours in the garden working to ensure a more bountiful jardin potager.
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes; postcards and morsels from my travels; conversations with cookery writers
and chefs; and news on food, cookbooks
- Liz Posmyk
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.